"Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.'" - Matthew 16:24
I didn’t think I had a message for this week, but there were a few words that kept replaying in my mind: let go of the past.
A few years ago, I heard T. D. Jakes say something that spoke directly to my heart. He said, "You're praying for success, but God is looking for sacrifice."
Most of the sacrifices that I made during the first five years of living in New York City were for me and my dreams. I sacrificed my time, friendships, and “good opportunities” for my vision, but not for God.
I was a serious doer, but I wasn't doing the work of a serious believer.
I remember crying out to God for direction one day, and I felt Him say, "You say you love me but are you taking up your cross to follow me? I would’ve given anything for my dream, but I was convicted at that moment.
What I wanted was more important to me than what God wanted for me. I wasn’t taking up my cross to follow God; I wanted to take my cross (my dreams) with me.
"Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.’" - Matthew 16:24-25
Jesus said follow me quite a few times in the New Testament. Most of the time when he said those words (if not all), he wanted people to leave their past or things that they treasured the most behind and follow him.
I’ve been challenged lately with the words “follow me.” There has been a lot of change happening in my life during this pandemic, and I know there’s more change taking place over the next few months.
One change that I’m not-so-secretly dreading is moving. I’ve lived in this house for nine years, and I don’t want to move. Part of me wants to fight to stay here for as long as possible. But the truth is, I know it’s time to leave the past behind and follow God into the future.
Change can be scary at times. Leaving the things behind that you hold dearly is a huge sacrifice, especially when the future is foggy.
But great things are coming.
Just as T. D. Jakes said, God is looking for sacrifice. Sometimes the things that we are holding onto for dear life are the same things that are holding us back from our breakthrough.
God has amazing things in store for you. It’s time to let go. It’s time to love the past and all the memories you’ve had enough to let them go.
I'll say it again. Great things are coming!
The future plans that God has for you are waiting for your sacrifice. Let go of the past and look forward.
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Do great things with God.